Growing up is tough. Figuring out what you want to do with your life, and then, once you do, getting the training necessary to achieve it can seem overwhelming. But there's a program through area Career Centers that can help.

YouthFORCE is a program through Eastern Maine Development Corporation that helps young people in Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Hancock counties. The program can provide access to career resources like a high school diploma, GED/HiSET assistance, or vocational/technical training tuition assistance. It also helps with career assessment and guidance, job search assistance, and even resume and interview preparation.

I think one of the cool aspects of this organization is that it helps teens figure out what they want to be when they grow up. When I was about to graduate high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. In my case, I was lucky to have stumbled upon a volunteer opportunity in college radio. Once I turned on the microphone, I was hooked.

It's not so easy for many young people, especially if they don't have the kind of family support that I did. And sometimes life just gets in the way of our plans - homelessness, pregnancy, or brushes with the law can derail us from our goals.

That's where YouthFORCE can help. It can work with you individually or in a group setting, called CareerCompass. The group programs blend work readiness training, guest speakers, career exploration, and 3rd party certifications with internships in the individual's area of interest.

If you or someone you know could benefit from YouthFORCE, they'd like to hear from you. Now is the time to start thinking about your future! Call (207) 561-4050 to enroll. And, for more information, log onto the Eastern Maine Development Corp.'s website.